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Miami-Dade County v. Florida Power & Light Co.

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20080
Nos. 3D14-1467 et al., (Fla. Ct. App., 04/20/2016)

A Florida appellate court reversed and remanded the state siting board's decision to permit a power company to construct and operate two new nuclear generating units and to install miles of new transmission lines in and near the East Everglades. The board failed to consider local regulations, as required by the Florida Electrical Power Plant Siting Act (PPSA), when it certified the transmission line corridors. In addition, it erroneously thought it did not have the power to require the company to install the lines underground at the company's own expense. The PPSA grants the siting board the power to impose such conditions upon certification. And the board erred in interpreting the county’s East Everglades Ordinance as a zoning regulation rather than an environmental one. The substance and legislative history of the ordinance demonstrate that the ultimate purpose of the East Everglades Ordinance is to protect the environment in the Everglades. The ordinance expressly prohibits roads, does not permit transmission lines anywhere in the East Everglades, and greatly restricts the amount of wetland filling in the area. The company, therefore, cannot install the transmission lines and roads proposed in its project without requesting a variance. And because the company never requested these variances, the board erred in approving the project.